Hawick ended their five-year wait for victory over Gala at Netherdale with a convincing 26-12 win that launches them into contention for a top-four spot.
A brace of tries from Nikki Walker, complemented by touchdowns from Scott McLeod and Nick Mactaggart, handed Hawick a 20-0 half-time advantage, before penalties from Matty Douglas and Scott Peffers sealed a tremendous win that sees them just one point off the pace for the play-offs.
The Mansfield Park men were a mighty unit up front, pretty combative behind the forwards, and against their bitter rivals on Saturday they were truly formidable.
The home side kept fighting to the end but it was like watching a double decker bus take on a sports car on a racetrack. The Greens barely having to press the accelerator to leave their opponents in the rear-view mirror.
“We were well beaten and seemed to be devoid of any ideas against them,” said Gala’s head coach, George Graham, following the result. A clear indication of how hard Hawick had worked and how impressive their performance was.
The Greens began the game forcibly, with Rory Hutton latching onto a kick from Scott Peffers, that Gala watched rather than claimed. It led to a rampage upfield with Nikki Walker feeding winger Scott McLeod who touched down in the corner for the opening try.
Hutton, who played with absolute authority and conviction all afternoon, was involved with nearly every Hawick attack and after making a telling half-break, fending off two tackles, he then worked a delicate kick towards the try-line that Walker reacted to quickest to put the Greens 10-0 up. Hutton missed his second conversion attempt but the try put a new sheen on the game.
Gala were scrambling to maintain forward momentum and, in desperation, scrum-half George Graham was yellow carded midway through the half for a foul and the Greens took full advantage.
Greg Cottrell, ever-alert from the base of the ruck, complemented the work done by the heavyweights in the Hawick pack to combine with Walker. The unstoppable centre taking a brilliant inside pass from the scrum-half before dragging two Gala defenders over the line as he scored by the posts for his second try and Hawick’s third.
The Robbie Dyes continued to press for a fourth score and when Hutton orchestrated yet another marauding drive downfield, Nick Mactaggart picked up loose ball from the the ruck to power his way over and secure a try bonus-point and a 20 points to 0 half-time lead.
In the second period, Gala had a moment where the game looked to be swinging on its axis as Hawick continually kicked away possession. Paul Palapoi crashing over to hand the hosts hope, but after continued handling errors and unforced mistakes, their moment of revival passed and Hawick soon re-established their dominance.
Matty Douglas and Scott Peffers both converted penalties either side of a second Gala try from Rory Howarth to complete the scoring and seal the 26-12 success
Hawick: S. Peffers, N. Walker, J. Coutts, J. Dominguez, S. McLeod, R. Hutton, G. Cottrell, S. Muir, R. Graham, M. Landles, M. McKee, B. McNeil, N. Mactaggart, R. Gibson, M. Robertson. Replacements: L. Gibson, W. Blacklock, K. Davies, S. Goodfellow, M. Douglas.